FACELESS

FACELESS

© Mary M. Cushnie-Mansour

 

She turned off the movie, even though it wasn’t finished yet, and looked around her small, scantily furnished apartment. Tears choked at the corners of her eyes. It had been years since she’d actually cried. She closed her eyes and tried to dream sweet dreams, but all that seemed to kaleidoscope before her were the same excruciating scenes of her tortured childhood…

            Upon first glance, one would have thought that the picture of the young girl on the swing was one of blissful innocence. Her face was tiny; her eyes were an innocent blue. Her cheeks were a rosy-red upon a pallet of pale skin. She sighed contentedly, and her lips smiled as the swing swung back and forth. Her blond curls bounced in the light breeze.

            But the next slide was different––an obscure figure stepped out from behind the tree. It stood there for a moment, silently scrutinizing the child; a sadistic twist to its lips as its tongue flicked in and out, similar to a rattler’s warning.

            The little girl’s innocent blue eyes darkened in a face that had turned an ashen colour. Her breathing became laboured. Perspiration bubbled on her forehead, dripping down into her furrowed eye-brows. The tiny fingers became white at the knuckles as they clenched the rope on the swing. The swing slowed to a standstill as the figure approached. Its hands reached up and covered the little girl’s trembling ones. Its lips curled up revealing a yellow smile.

            The walk to the house took forever as the little girl dragged her feet through the grass and then struggled up the steep concrete steps. The back door creaked open. There was another figure standing in a shadowy corner of the kitchen. It was silent. All the little girl saw was its back as she passed through, heading down the long, gloomy hall, to her room at the back of the house.

            Snap…

            The little girl was sitting at the dinner table. Her innocent blue eyes were red-rimmed.  Her face was mottled purple. Her hands twisted nervously on her lap as she waited for her food to be served. There were two figures sitting at the table with her––the one with the yellow smile and the one whose face she could not see…

            The young woman woke up. She glanced at the clock. It was only 2:00 a.m. She was so tired, yet sleep never seemed to relieve her fatigue. She’d given up on trying to figure out what would. She got up from her chair and made a trip to the bathroom, glancing in her bedroom on the way past. She felt dizzy. She’d been getting a lot of dizzy spells lately––maybe she should give the doctor a call and get a check-up. She splashed some water on her face and then looked into the mirror.

            One would never guess she was only 29. Her blue eyes were dull and lifeless; dark circles surrounded them. Her cheeks were artificially coloured, her complexion sallow. Her blond curls had been replaced with a short, spiky mousey-brown hair-do. Her lips had not been able to smile for years.

            She stepped away from the mirror and studied the full effect of time. She was rail thin, having lost another unaffordable ten pounds within the past two weeks. It didn’t matter what she did to try to gain weight. “Okay,” she remarked to the mirror’s reflection, “I’ll call the doctor in the morning.”

            She returned to the living room, flopped down on the couch, and flicked the television back on. She may as well finish the movie, even though she knew it off by heart, having watched it over and over and over. She didn’t know why she tortured herself so because each time it ended it felt as though another nail had pierced her coffin…

            The morning sun streamed in the window, settling on the young woman’s sleeping face.  Her hand reached up and brushed at a fly that had landed on her nose. She opened her eyes, crawled off the couch, and walked down the hall to her bedroom. She glanced around at the emptiness. She straightened the covers on the dishevelled bed she never slept in, and then walked over to the dresser and gathered the bills that were sitting on top of her jewellery box. She counted them; she’d have enough, now, to pay the rent for another month.

            “Not all movies have a fairytale ending, Julia,” she whispered huskily as she put the money in her purse.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

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